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SBA Loans: Everything you need to know before applying

EXCEL CAPITAL - SBA LOANS

With over $13.2 billion dollars in assets and a growth of 4.4 percent from 2016, the SBA is a powerful business partner whose resources and lending power continue to grow.

Since its founding in 1953, it’s been the SBA’s mission to help U.S. businesses grow.

To do that, the SBA has offered a myriad of resources to business owners, from loan guarantees to government contracts, business counseling, and many other forms of assistance.

And if recent growth is any indicator, the SBA isn’t about to slow down any time soon.

One of the greatest benefits the SBA offers is its lending programs, which encompass several different types of loans and other offerings to help fund your business.

Getting approved for an SBA loan isn’t easy, but if your business is in need of working capital, especially if you’re not a fan of the terms you’re being offered by certain lenders for other loan products, the various SBA loan offerings are worth taking a look at.

What is an SBA loan?

Chances are, you’ve heard of SBA loans before but aren’t exactly clear on what they are.

SBA loans are offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for the purpose of helping new and pre-existing small businesses grow.

With the exception of disaster loans, most SBA loans aren’t offered directly through the SBA but a third party lender working with the SBA to guarantee the loan (up to 85% of the loan amount).

The value in this agreement for you is that, because the SBA is guaranteeing a large portion of the loan for said lender, that lender can then offer you more favorable terms since their risk is greatly reduced. Such as:

  • Low-interest
  • Longer terms

And an SBA loan can be used for virtually anything depending on the type of SBA loan you get, including (but not limited to):

  • Equipment
  • Property purchase
  • Working capital
  • Inventory
  • New hires and training
  • Refinancing debt
  • Business aquisition

 

SBA loans pros and cons

SBA loans have a lot of benefits. However, like all loan products, the various SBA loans have both pros and cons that you should be aware of.

While each type of SBA loan has its own unique terms, because they’re all offered as part of the same overarching program through the SBA, they have certain collective terms and conditions which apply to all.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the basic terms which define SBA loans and their pros and cons:

  • Maximum loan amount: $5,000 – $5,000,000
  • Loan repayment term: 5-25 years
  • Interest rate: 6.25% and higher
  • Approval/funding speed: Slow (3-4 weeks with assistance from a lender)

Pros:

  • Lower interest rates
  • Longer repayment terms
  • Lower down payments
  • Access to SBA tools and resources

Cons:

  • Long approval process
  • Heavy paperwork
  • Difficult to get approved (Credit rating 680+)

 

How to qualify for an SBA loan

Now that you have a better understanding of how SBA loans work, including their pros and cons let’s talk a bit about how to qualify for an SBA loan.

Keep in mind that there are overarching SBA-required qualification factors and there are other program-specific factors as well, so see below this section for each individual program’s terms and qualification requirements. These qualification factors may overlap, however, in some cases they’re different.

Also, keep in mind that certain factors aren’t written in stone. For instance, annual revenue isn’t a hard-line amount. Rather, a certain annual income is suggested.

Here are the most important qualification factors you should keep in mind:

Credit

The most important factor for being approved for an SBA loan is your credit score and history. SBA loans require a 680+ credit score, putting them at the high in terms of credit requirements for small business financing options.

Annual revenue

SBA loans generally require an annual revenue of around $180,000 or higher. This isn’t set in stone, however, and more is definitely better.

Time in business

SBA loans generally require 4+ years in business. This is universal among virtually all SBA and non-SBA lending programs as the lender needs to see that you have a solid and consistent track record.

Paperwork required for approval

In addition to the above factors, certain paperwork is required to apply and be approved for any SBA-backed loan.

Keep in mind that SBA loans take a lot of time and effort and aren’t a good option if you need funding quick. As mentioned earlier, SBA loans have a ton of benefits, however, they’re slow to be approved, take a lot of paperwork, and are difficult to be approved for especially compared to other alternative lending products.

However, if your credit and other factors meet the requirement and you’re not in any rush, an SBA loan is one of your best options for funding your small business effectively and with the best terms available.

Each lender will have their own application (ours takes less than 2 minutes). In addition to this, these documents may be required for approval depending on the program:

  • Business license
  • Business check (voided)
  • Business plan
  • Debt schedule (Download the ECM business debt schedule here)
  • Personal and business tax returns (Past 3 months)
  • Personal and business credit reports
  • Business bank account statements
  • Balance sheet
  • Personal financial statement (Download the ECM personal financial statement here)
  • Articles of incorporation
  • And drivers license

SBA loans are ideal for small business owners looking for flexible, cost-effective financing options. Let us help you find the perfect SBA product to drive your business forward. Complete our short application to see what you qualify for.

Types of SBA loans

An SBA loan isn’t a single type of loan or program. Rather, it’s a blanket term which refers to several different loan products offered by the SBA.

There are 6 primary SBA loan and funding programs:

Each SBA loan fulfills a unique purpose depending on what stage of business you’re in, your needs, and business activity.

Below, we’ll break down each SBA loan and financing program in more detail so you know which is the best fit for you and your business.

EXCEL CAPITAL - SBA 7(a) Loans

SBA 7(a) loans

The most common type of SBA loan, 7(a) loans are most often referred to simply as “SBA loans” given their popularity. In fact, they’re so popular, they occupy 65% of the SBA’s portfolio.

The reason is no surprise: 7(a) loans are the closest to a traditional business loan among all SBA offerings. They can be used for virtually any business purpose from working capital to purchasing inventory, business property, and buying equipment.

Types of 7(a) loans

Aside from the standard 7(a) loan, there are two unique types of 7(a) loans. Those are:

1. SBA Express loan

As we’ll touch on a few times in this guide, one of the few drawbacks of an SBA loan is how long the application and approval process can take. The SBA remedied this by creating the SBA Express loan.

While it doesn’t expedite the actual approval process, it does guarantee a response to your application in under 36 hours. That means from the minute you submit your application with an approved lender you’ll receive a response within a day or two.

As opposed to standard 7(a) loans, only 50% of Express loans are guaranteed by the SBA, meaning the interest rate you’re approved for likely won’t be as good as with a standard 7(a) loan. The loan maximum is also less at $350,000.

2. SBA 7(a) Advantage Loans

The SBA 7(a) Advantage loan is another unique offering that allows those who are eligible but do not qualify for a standard 7(a) loan obtain comparable funding.

The program is specifically designed to serve those who may not have qualifying revenue or qualifying business statistics, no collateral, or another qualifying factor.

As opposed to the SBA Express loan, Advantage loans are expedited as well but with an 85% guarantee up to $250,000. This makes them highly desirable for lenders, allowing the SBA to bridge the gap between lenders and those who might otherwise not be able to qualify for an SBA loan.

SBA 7(a) loan terms

All SBA loan types have virtually the same rates and terms, which some variance (most of which was mentioned above).

Below are the standard SBA 7(a) loan rates and terms:

  • Interest rate: 2.25% – 4.75% + prime rate (Approved interest rate depends on credit, repayment plan, and whether the loan is fixed or variable)
  • Fees:
    • Origination fee: 0.5% – 3.5%
    • Packaging fee: $2,000 – $4,000
    • Guarantee fee: 2% – 3.5%
  • Loan amount: $5 million maximum
  • Repayment: 10-year monthly repayment plan (25 years for real estate purchases)

 

 

SBA 7(a) loan requirements

You’ll need to meet these minimum requirements to qualify for all SBA loans on this list:

  • Credit score: 680+
  • Cash flow/debt: Your business must be profitable and you must have a DSCR of 1.25 or higher, meaning you have cash available to pay all your current debt with leftover.
  • No negative financial marks (i.e. liens, bankruptcies, or foreclosures)
  • Time in business: 2+ years
  • *Down payment: 10% of the loan amount (Only applies if you’re purchasing a business or real estate property)

And you’ll need to meet these additional eligibility guidelines to qualify for a 7(a) loan:

  • Must be in a qualifying industry (most industries are eligible)
  • Must be a small business as defined by SBA guidelines (Primary criteria here is either less than 7.5$ million in annual sales or below 500 employees)
  • Must be a for-profit business doing business in the United States or property owned by the U.S.
  • Must be able to demonstrate a need for the loan and have used other financial resources to cover the need, including personal equity, before applying for the loan
  • Use of funds must be in line with SBA policy goals (primarily has to do with creating new jobs or, at a minimum, retaining existing ones)

You’ll also want to have some sort of potential collateral in place. While this isn’t an SBA requirement, you’ll hard-pressed to be approved by a lender without any form of collateral available. However, it all depends on the lender.

Also, keep in mind that while startups can get any kind of SBA loan, the requirements for startups are a bit different and much more strict. If you’re a startup, you’ll want to have 700+ credit, a thorough written business plan, and must have extensive industry experience among other things to qualify.

How to apply for a 7(a) loan

First, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements listed above. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to decide what loan provider to go with to service your loan.

As mentioned earlier, an SBA loan isn’t offered directly by the SBA itself but rather they work with lenders to offer the various SBA loans. That means you’ll need to work directly with a lender who is authorized to provide SBA loans.

There are several ways you find an SBA-approved lender. First, you can use the SBA’s Lender Match to let the SBA match you with an approved lender.

In addition to this, you can search based on the type of SBA loan or offering you’re interested in and compare lenders yourself if you prefer to do the dirty work.

Also, you can use a broker to help you identify your ideal lender. Brokers are helpful because they have a deep knowledge of various lenders that offer SBA loans and can match you with your ideal lender much more easily than you could do on your own. In addition to this, a broker will help you organize your paperwork and application so that it has the best chance of approval.

We’ve worked with small business owners for years, matching them with the perfect SBA lender based on their needs and helping them organize their applications so they can maximize their chance of approval.

If an SBA loan sounds like a good fit for your needs, we can help match you with your ideal preferred lender for your business and expedite the process to get you approved as quickly as possible.

Click here to complete a short application and see what Excel Capital can do for you.

EXCEL CAPITAL - SBA 504 CDC Loans

SBA 504 (CDC) loans

Certified Development Company (CDC) or 504 loans are business loans designed most notably to help small business owners purchase equipment and purchase or construct owner-occupied real estate.

A 504 loan places two lenders and a borrower (you) together to pay for said development or purchase. Each party pays a specific percentage towards the loan in cash:

  • Bank or other lender: 50%
  • CDC: 40%
  • Borrower: 10%

The borrowers part comes typically in the form of a cash-based down payment with you essentially taking two loans out on the remaining 90% investment (at the above 50/40% split) coming from the combined amount of the two lenders.

SBA 504 loan terms

The two loan portions that together form a 504 loan each have different terms. Together, the interest rate on a 504 loan tends to be between 4-6% and with up to a 25-year repayment plan.

Below are the CDC portion rates and terms:

  • Portion of 504 loan: 40%
  • Interest rate and repayment (two available plans which generally break down as follows):
    • 10-year repayment: Fixed rate of about 4.92%
    • 20-year repayment: Fixed rate of about 5.19%
  • Fees:
    • CDC Servicing fee: .625% (1/8 of a percent) – 2% (1.5% maximum for rural areas)
    • SBA Monthly Guarantee fee: .914% (9.14/10 of a percent, just under 1%)
    • Servicing Agent fee: .1% (1/10 of a percent)

And below are the bank or other traditional lender portion rates and terms. However, keep in mind that the SBA does not impose limits on the terms of the bank/lender portion of a 504 loan:

  • Portion of 504 loan: 50%
  • Interest rate: 5 – 9.75%
  • Repayment: 5-10 year repayment term amortized over 20-25 years
  • Fees: Several one-time fees are associated with the lender side of a 504 loan, typically amounting to 2.5-3% of the loan’s value. These include:
    • Legal fee
    • Processing fee
    • Funding fee
    • Debenture underwriting fee

In addition to these terms, there is a $14 million maximum per 504 loan with a $20 million combined maximum for multiple 504 loans.

SBA 504 loan requirements

The minimum qualification requirements for an SBA 504 (CDC) loan are:

  • Credit score: 680+
  • Net worth: Less than $15 million (tangible assets)
  • Down payment: 10% of the project’s cost
  • Financial: Cannot be invested in rental real estate of any kind nor be able to access necessary capital for the project via any other means (personal equity, cash, etc.)
  • Property: Must be 51% or more owner-occupied
  • Must prove you’ll be able to pay back the loan using the estimated cash flow from the business which will be operating out of said property

If your business depends on obtaining a new or larger property, and you can prove that the business will be able to pay back the loan from the cash that flows into the business, a 504 may be a good fit.

How to apply for a 504 loan

Most SBA loans have a similar application process to the 7(a) loan which we discussed in the previous section. However, in the case of a 504 loan, you’ll also need to provide any available paperwork connected with the property.

To get a 504 loan started, you’ll need to locate a CDC who is willing to work with you. To do that, you can use the SBA’s CDC Finder tool online at: sba.gov/funding-programs/loans.

You’ll also need to locate a bank for the other portion of the loan. However, most CDCs will have banks they’ve worked with in the past and can recommend. Alternatively, you can also check with your local SBA district office to see if they have a list of suggested bank lenders at: sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/districtoffices.

EXCEL CAPITAL - SBA CAPLine

CAPLines loans

CAPLines is a program made available by the SBA which offers various different line of credit products.

CAPLines offer a convenient line of credit which can be tapped into at any time for recurring working capital or other needs. They’re especially useful for seasonal businesses, those which have a cyclical need for capital, or who regularly need funds now for projects that won’t pay until much later.

Keep in mind that typically CAPLines are offered as part of a 7(a) or CDC loan. However, they can be offered as a standalone line of credit in rarer cases.

Types of SBA CAPLine loans

The SBA offers four different CAPLine line of credit products, all with a $5 million maximum:

1. SBA Seasonal CAPLine

The SBA’s Seasonal CAPLine is designed for meeting the needs of seasonal businesses, such as producing extra inventory or making additional hires in anticipation of a busy season.

You must be able to demonstrate a seasonal need for capital to qualify for this program.

2. SBA Contract CAPLine

An SBA Contract line of credit is designed to cover labor and material costs in connection with assignable contracts. Similar to the SBA’s Seasonal line of credit, your business must demonstrate the ability to fulfill such a purchase order/contract to qualify.

3. SBA Builders CAPLine

The SBA’s Builders line of credit is built for contractors who need capital for the building or renovation of residential or commercial real estate.

To qualify for this line of credit, your business must demonstrate experience in performing and completing said work and being profitable in doing so.

4. SBA Working Capital CAPLine

The final SBA line of credit, a Working Capital CAPLine is designed to help businesses turn short-term assets such as invoices into cash to generate the working capital necessary to keep your business moving.

Qualifying for this line of credit requires your business has inventory and accounts receivable.

CAPLine loan terms

With a line of credit, you only pay interest in the amount you withdraw/borrow, making it a cost-effective way of borrowing if you have a recurring need.

Below are the standard SBA CAPLine loan program rates and terms:

  • Interest rate: Identical to 7(a) loans (2.25% – 4.75% + prime rate)
  • Loan amount: $5 million maximum
  • Repayment: Up to 10-year repayment plans (5-year repayment for SBA Builder CAPLines)
  • Fees:
    • Guarantee fee: 2 – 3.5%
    • Origination fee: .5 – 3.5%
    • Loan packaging fee: One-time fee of $2,000 – $4,000
    • Ongoing servicing fee: Up to 2%; may exceed 2% for Working Capital CAPLines
      • *This may be higher if you receive the line of credit through the CAPLine program as opposed to through a 7(a) loan.

 

 

CAPLine loan requirements

You’ll need to meet these minimum requirements to qualify for an SBA CAPLine line of credit:

  • Credit score: 680+
  • Financial: No tax liens, foreclosures, or bankruptcies
  • Collateral: Short-term collateral required for all CAPLines such as invoices
  • Personal guarantee: 20% or more from owners
  • Down payment: 10% or more

Also, keep in mind that each CAPLine program has a unique requirement based on the purpose of that line of credit (mentioned in the previous ‘Types of SBA CAPLine loans’ section).

How to apply for a CAPLine loan

As mentioned earlier, obtaining an SBA line of credit is typically done in connection with an SBA 7(a) loan. For this reason, the application process is usually virtually the same as it is to apply for a 7(a) loan.

You can obtain a CAPLine line of credit separate from a 7(a) loan by contacting your local bank or major lender, however, lenders are less likely to be willing to do this and rates tend to be higher this way for you as well.

EXCEL CAPITAL - SBA EXPORT LOANS

Export-assistance loans

Export-assistance loans are loans designed by the SBA to offer capital to U.S. businesses who have any kind of export activity, or who plan to expand their operation outside the U.S. by entering foreign markets.

This type of SBA loan is perfect for your business if you currently have part of your operations outside the country or have plans of doing so.

Types of SBA Export loans

There are three types of SBA Export loans :

1. SBA Export Express loan

The SBA’s Export Express program is a smaller, expedited loan program offering amounts up to $500,000 to support small businesses with export activity with the shortest approval process among the various Export loan programs.

2. SBA Export Working Capital loan

The Export Working Capital loan program is designed to help small business owners with purchase orders from foreign customers, both to obtain the capital to fulfill those orders as well as for working capital when there’s a large gap between production and payment.

3. SBA International Trade loan

An SBA International Trade loan is designed to help small businesses looking to expand their operations internationally and who need additional capital to jumpstart the effort.

The International Trade loan program requires proof that you have the ability to develop the business in foreign markets, expand existing foreign markets, or that your imports have been affected by international competition.

Export-assistance loan terms

In contrast to other SBA loan programs, the SBA’s Export loans all have somewhat different terms. For that reason, we’ve listed each individually below:

SBA Export Express rates and terms:
  • Loan amount: Up to $500,000
  • Interest: 9.75 – 11.75%
  • Repayment: 7 years for a standalone line of credit, 10 – 25 years through 7(a) loan program
 
 
SBA Export Working Capital rates and terms:
  • Loan amount: Up to $5 million
  • Interest rate: 6 – 10%
    • *Rates have no limit for Export Working Capital loans. However, they are monitored to make sure they remain fair.
  • Repayment: 1 – 3 years
 
 
SBA International Trade rates and terms:
  • Loan amount: Up to $5 million
  • Interest rate: 7.50 – 10.00%
  • Repayment: 10 – 25 years

 

 

Export-assistance loan requirements

Most qualification requirements are identical to the SBA’s 7(a) loan with minor variations.

You’ll need to meet these minimum requirements to qualify for an SBA Export-assistance loan:

  • Credit score: 680+
  • Financial: No tax liens, foreclosures, or bankruptcies
  • Collateral: Short-term collateral required for all Export-assistance loans such as invoices
  • Personal guarantee: 20% or more from owners
  • Business age and experience: Business must be 1+ year old. Must export product or have plans to export product (depending on the type of loan).

 

 

How to apply for an Export-assistance loan

Most lenders who are approved to offer the SBA’s 7(a) loans also offer the Export-assistance loan program, which makes finding and working with a lender easy.

In addition to this, the process is similar to applying for a 7(a) loan with the exception of proving that your business has proven export activity.

EXCEL CAPITAL - SBA MICROLOAN

SBA Microloan program

SBA Microloans are smaller loans, up to $50,000 (the average Microloan is $13,000), and offered to for-profit businesses and some non-profits.

SBA Microloans were designed for work-from-home entrepreneurs and those self-employed business owners who need just a small amount of capital to get up and running.

One unique function of the SBA Microloan program is that microlenders can provide valuable training and technical assistance to business owners if they so choose, making a microloan the perfect jump start to any home-based business.

However, keep in mind that the SBA does not guarantee loans under its Microloan program, so you may not see the same favorable terms you’d get with other larger loan products on this list.

SBA Microloan terms

You’ll need to meet these minimum requirements to qualify for an SBA Microloan:

  • *Interest rate: 8 – 13% (An average among lenders offering the SBA Microloan program. See below)
    • *The SBA does not set a minimum credit score or interest rate for microloans. However, the lender/intermediary will have their own credit requirement and rates. As opposed to other SBA loan products, good credit is not required for microloans but rates are high.
  • Loan amount: Up to $50,000
  • Repayment: Monthly, up to 6 years
  • Fees: (Fees, like credit and interest rate, are determined by the lender)
    • Packaging fee
    • Closing fee

 

 

Microloan requirements

Just as several of the SBA’s Microloan terms vary by lender, several of the program’s loan qualification requirements vary by lender as well.

You’ll need to meet these minimum requirements to qualify for an SBA Microloan:

  • *Credit score: 575+ (An average among lenders offering the SBA Microloan program. See below)
    • *The SBA does not set a minimum credit score or interest rate for microloans. However, the lender/intermediary will have their own credit requirement and rates. As opposed to other SBA loan products, good credit is not required for microloans but rates are high.
  • Collateral: Varies based on lender
  • Personal guarantee required 

 

 

How to apply for an SBA Microloan

Similar to other SBA loan programs, to obtain an SBA Microloan you must work with an SBA Microloan program approved lender. See the SBA’s Participating Microloan Intermediaries Report to find an approved lender in your area: sba.gov/sites/default/files/articles/microlenderrpt_160111.cfm_.pdf.

EXCEL CAPITAL - SBA DISASTER LOANS

SBA Disaster loans

SBA Disaster loans offer funding to businesses who have been affected by natural or economic disasters. The purpose is to help that business recover from said disaster and get back on their feet.

The SBA’s Disaster loan program is the only loan product offered directly through the SBA, making it unique among the SBA’s other offerings.

Types of SBA Disaster loans

There are three primary types of SBA Disaster loans, each providing small business owners with the funds they need to recover when insurance and other emergency funds aren’t enough.

They are:

1. SBA Business Physical Disaster loan

The SBA’s Business Physical Disaster loans are long-term loans designed to help business owners recover from physical damages due to a natural disaster up to $2 million. Due to the long terms on these loans, rates are low.

2. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The Economic Injury Disaster loan is a short and medium-term loan geared towards helping businesses who have sustained heavy economic injury due to a natural disaster up to $2 million.

In other words, your business has suffered significantly due to a loss of sales or your product has been damaged by the disaster and you’re unable to meet your regular operating expenses.

3. SBA Military Reservists Economic Injury loan

Finally, the SBA’s Military Reservists Economic Injury loan is a short and medium-term loan up to $2 million designed to help businesses who lose a key employee due to being ordered to active duty. If the loss of that employee has made you unable to meet your regular operating expenses, you may qualify for this loan.

Disaster loan terms

All SBA Disaster loans have a $2 million maximum with rates between 4-8%.

Below are the standard SBA Disaster loan rates and terms:

  • Interest rate:
    • Business Physical Disaster loan: 4 – 8%
    • Economic Injury Disaster loan: 4%
    • Military Reservist Economic Injury loan: 4%
  • Loan amount: $2 million maximum
  • Repayment: Up to 30-year monthly repayment plan

 

Disaster Loan requirements

Each Disaster loan is different, however, the one unifying factor is that your business must be experiencing a specifically definable hardship, with each loan servicing a different kind of hardship.

You’ll need to meet these minimum requirements to qualify for an SBA disaster loan:

  • Credit score: 660+
  • Financial: Must prove you have the ability to repay the loan
  • Collateral: Required for loans above $25,000, $50,000 for Military Reservist Economic loans.

How to apply for a Disaster loan

Because the SBA’s Disaster loans are offered directly from the SBA, they’re the only SBA loans you’ll apply for directly with the SBA.

Here’s how to apply for an SBA Disaster loan:

  • Online: Visit disasterloan.sba.gov/ela to submit an application online. The easiest way to apply if you have other preference.
  • In-person at a Disaster Recovery Center: Alternatively, you can also visit a Disaster Recovery Center in-person and submit a written application.
  • Or by mail: You can also mail a completed application and requested documentation to the address below

SBA Processing & Disbursement

14925 Kingsport Road

Fort Worth, TX 76155

How to increase your chance of approval

Now that you’re armed with all the information you need to decide which SBA loan is the best fit for you, it’s time to turn our attention to placing you and your business in the best position possible to get approved.

Keep in mind that because the requirements are somewhat different for each SBA loan, the things you need to do to place yourself in a favorable position for approval are going to be slightly different depending on the loan you’re applying for.

However, these requirements take into consideration mostly the same qualification factors, so by tackling the information in this section, you’ll be more likely to be approved for any SBA loan.

Having said that, we will be placing emphasis on the 7(a) loans requirements given the loan’s popularity.

The elements below are the most important to have in order to maximize your chance of approval for an SBA loan:

Review your credit score and history

The credit requirements for an SBA loan are similar to bank loans and high when compared to alternative loans, so you’ll need at least good if not great credit to approved for any SBA loan.

First, make sure to get a copy of your credit report. Many never take the time to look over their report, not realizing there are items such as judgments or old paid accounts still lingering that should have been removed. These items affect your credit score and, in turn, your chance of being approved for an SBA loan.

Review your credit report for the below items so you can clean things up and polish your score:

  • Liens or judgments
  • Closed accounts that are still showing as open
  • Errors on your report whether an account or a particular detail (such as the balance)
  • Unfamiliar/fraudulent accounts or credit checks which you didn’t do

 

 

Review your potential collateral and cash for the down payment

7(a) SBA loans under $25,000 don’t require collateral. However, if you need a loan larger than that you’ll need to offer something as collateral to secure the loan.

The question then is: what do you have to offer? It’s important to review the assets you have that may be offered as collateral so you have an idea of what you’ll need to put down to secure your loan.

Depending on if you’re a startup, how much you’re borrowing, and why (such as purchasing real estate) you may also be asked to provide a down payment towards the loan, so it’s important to know where the cash to pay for that down payment will come from.

As a startup, you could end up being asked to pay as much as 30% of your total loan as a down payment, so know going in whether you’re using down payment and where that cash will come from.

Craft a thorough business plan

If you’re a startup applying for an SBA loan, you’ll have to provide a thorough business plan, prove that you have enough business experience, and provide a report detailing revenue projection for the next 3-5 years.

It’s important to make this plan as detailed as possible as the more information provided the more compelling your case is for requesting funding.

Take some time to review your major reports such as your Profit and loss statement, Balance sheet to get a true understanding of your revenue, and debt-to-income to get a better idea of where you stand now.

Depend on when you need the funds, there may be something you can do to improve your numbers now that will help your approval odds a few months down the line.

We have created guides on Profit and Loss Statements and Balance Sheets  please feel free to check them out Below

Profit and Loss Statement Guide

Balance Sheet Guide

 

Frequently asked questions

Still have some questions? A lot goes into applying and qualifying for an SBA loan, so you might still be wondering how all of this works.

Have no fear, we’ve covered some of the most frequently asked questions which haven’t already been touched on above.

Q: How long does it take to be approved?

SBA loans typically take several months for approval, however, a typical lender can and usually will help you reduce that time down to 2-4 weeks depending.

Keep in mind that most alternative lenders can approve you in as little as 24-48 hours for any collection of alternative loans, this is is definitely on the slow side when it comes to business lending. However, it all depends on when you need the funds.

Q: What is an SBA loan guarantee?

SBA loans are unique in that the Small Business Association (SBA) provides lenders with a guarantee that secures a portion of every one of its loans (up to $3.75 million depending on the loan).

Think of it as insurance the SBA provides lenders. if a borrower isn’t able to pay back a loan, the SBA will cover the pre-arranged amount.

This has no immediate effect on you as the borrower, however, as a result of this agreement lenders are able to offer you more favorable terms such as lower interest and better repayment terms.

Q: Do SBA loans require a personal guarantee?

SBA loans require a personal guarantee for owners with a 20% or more ownership stake as well as for those in top management positions.

Grow your small business the smart way

SBA loans are only one of several different options you have as a business owner for generating capital. However, they’re easily one of the best and most useful.

With the unique guarantee that the SBA offers lenders, you’re ensured to get the best rates and repayment terms possible.

There’s only one question let to answer: is an SBA loan a good fit for you and your business? And, if so, which?

That’s a question only you can answer, but now you know everything you need to make an informed decision– a decision that helps grow your business the smart way.

We partner with preferred SBA Lenders, which allows us to not only expedite and smooth out the approval process for you but it means we know how to find a lender that’s a perfect match for your business needs.

Let us help you find the perfect SBA product to drive your business forward. Complete our short application to see what you qualify for.